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The Green Screen Handbook: Real-World Production Techniques Paperback – March 15, 2010

ISBN-13: 000-0470521074 ISBN-10: 0470521074 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Sybex; 1 edition (March 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470521074
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470521076
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #671,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Bring Reality and Fantasy Together with Cinematic Results

If you want to make movies with green screen compositing technology, The Green Screen Handbook is just for you. This unique guide is a comprehensive how-to of professional production techniques, step-by-step instruction, and tips that can save you time and money. Learn when to use green screens instead of blue, find out how the pros operate in professional studios, and get amazing results—even on a shoestring budget.

Topics include matting and keying basics; setups using fabric, portable background panels, or paint; lighting and digital camera essentials; broadcast TV hardware switchers; professional HD and major motion picture compositing; multiple-colored screen composites (background, foregrounds, and objects); directing storyboards and talent; working with virtual sets; motion tracking; and much more.

  • See how to plan, set up, and execute your shots to reduce fixes in post

  • Choose the right keying process for your project

  • Master basic shooting setups and live broadcast keying

  • Understand proper lighting and how to match subjects to the background

  • Create a working storyboard and learn how to select and direct talent

  • Composite your footage and fix problem shots

  • Work creatively with virtual sets, motion tracking, and match moving

  • Master techniques that apply to all compositing software and plug-ins

The DVD includes sample footage and all project files to accompany the chapters in the book.

About the Author

Jeff Foster has been producing traditional and digital images, photography, illustration, motion graphics, and special effects for digital video and film for over 20 years. Some of his clients include Tribune Broadcasting, FAA, Nestlé, McDonnell Douglas, FOX Television, Spike TV, Discovery/TLC, Universal Studios, and Disney. He has also written and contributed to several After Effects and Photoshop books, conducted training seminars, and been a featured speaker at several national conferences such as Macworld, Photoshop World, AdobeMAX, and NAB.

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Customer Reviews

It was a very informative book filled with practical tips and ideas.
Harry Olson
Jeff Foster's skill and usage of the green screen techniques is very well explained and demonstrated in this book.
Cate Riley
This is the way we will all be consuming books, especially reference books, in the future.
Keith Moreau

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By VJ Bauer on March 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
Usually I'm not an impulse buyer, but this time around I jumped at the opportunity when this book became available. I'm a green-screen amateur by comparison to the author. But this book doesn't overwhelm me with a lot of "technobabble" I have no hope of understanding or using. It's a very user friendly presentation of tips and techniques as well as things to watch out for when producing your own green screen extravaganzas.

There's a nice quality and feel to the book; that sense of durability that lends itself to being able to hold up with a lot of page turns and abuse without falling apart at the seams. There's plenty of pictures and advise. I like it when an author goes out of their way to show as well as to tell. Pictures go a long way to explain what words don't otherwise convey. And when I can see an example of something in action, I'm quick to pick up the technique as my own.

The included DVD has a wealth of video clips and Adobe After Effects project files that goes along with each chapter. You get Quicktime movies, Adobe Photoshop files and more. Gosh there are over 2 gigs worth of HD video footage enough to do some healthy and author encouraged reverse-engineering of project files to better understand how each process fits together and works in producing a quality piece of work in the end. Files are PC or Mac compatible. And everything is written with Adobe Photoshop CS4 and Adobe After Effects CS4 in mind.

For me, the quality of the content of this book vastly surpasses the cost and that's value enough to justify my investment. Besides, anything I can learn or what helps me to learn how to be better at what I do is priceless.

Well done!

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By ModelFlyer on May 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
I hated this book!
Because I didn't write it!

For years I was the instructor at the NAB - teaching greenscreen techniques to top professionals who wanted to bone up on the latest skills and setups.

But I NEVER got this deep into this fascinating subject. Who could?

This book is clearly the best Greenscreen manual ever created. Complete with history anecdotes, tips, techniques, lighting equipment, software suggestions, setup and shooting guides - there is NOTHING greenscreen that this book does not include.

No matter what your involvement in chromakey may be, from tiny interviews to huge sets, this book will fill you in.

A classic from the moment it hit the presses.
Thank you Jeff Foster - a lot of work - but well worth the effort.

Victor Milt, DGA
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By iCreate on May 31, 2010
Format: Paperback
What a great find! We were looking for green screen resources for our live video productions on, and came across this book. It's loaded with valuable reference information - but more importantly, it's enjoyable to read! Definitely not your typical `handbook'. It's got a bit of everything you will need . . . from historical information to pre-production techniques. This book is a must for anyone shooting green screen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pen Name on August 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jeff Foster's "The Green Screen Handbook" is a thorough, detailed description of how to shoot green screen video.

The book provides a wealth of in-depth information. It describes:

-Multiple setups that one can purchase or construct to create your green screen shooting space or studio, ranging from budgets of a few hundred dollars to more expansive setups;

-The various lights and lighting arrangements that one can use when shooting green screen--again, providing information on an array of lighting choices, from the homemade to the professional--and how to use and vary these when shooting;

-Digital cameras in green screening, how to shoot both live to broadcast, as well as for video productions;

-How to position, direct, and light your actors/talent so that it best maximizes the use of the green screen;

-The use of the many software programs and plugins available to composite your results, including information on the advantages of different programs;

-How to composite shots from multiple colored screens;

-Using virtual sets;

and considerably more.

This is an extensive book. It provides information on how to use green screen for productions ranging from home studio and relatively smaller scale/indie productions to green screening for major motion picture releases. It offers troubleshooting advice. And it includes, in the print version, a DVD with example and sample footage. The book even provides a history of the technique.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard John Jenkins on June 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
Thank goodness for Jeff Foster and his outstanding well researched The Green Screen Handbook! Frankly, I've always found blue, green and chroma key digital movie making technologies to be truly magical, yet baffling and complex to create the magic, no more now that Mr. Foster has penned this super book. What I especially like about the book is it is jammed packed with tons of photo examples on every single page - no kidding. I just thumbed through it as I write this review and there are excellent photos of sets, materials, scenes, effect shots, examples, old black & white stills from classic movies, screenshots of software using chroma key technologies and even great historical photos of chroma key pioneers like Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks on EVERY page.

Being more of a visual artist than a movie making techie I'm especially pleased by how the book is written - nothing is over my head. The book is written in clear, concise easy to understand sections with again, tons of photo examples of what the author is talking about.

I must admit I have not checked out the included DVD yet since I'm still pouring over all of the great things I've learned so far in the book and was compelled to write this review before getting to the DVD. Seems to me based on other positive reviews here on Amazon the DVD is going to be worth the book's price many times over making this book/DVD a very worthwhile purchase.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews

More About the Author

Jeff Foster has authored and contributed to several Adobe After Effects & Photoshop tutorial and training how-to books, including the "Photoshop Web Magic" series and "Special Edition: Using Photoshop" series. He has been an Adobe Certified Expert and has served as an instructor and featured speaker at conferences such as Photoshop World, Macworld, Adobe MAX and the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Post-Production Conferences.

Foster has been producing and training for traditional and digital images, photography, illustration, motion graphics and special effects for DV and Film for over 20 years. Some of his clients include: Tribune Broadcasting, Motorola, McDonnell Douglas, Nestlé, FOX Television, Spike TV, Discovery/TLC, Deluxe Digital, Universal Studios and Disney. He is also a 2010 Telly Awards recipient for his "Documercial" video productions.

His best-selling book title, "After Effects and Photoshop - Animation and Production Effects for DV and Film," provides tips and tricks for creating believable animations and reveals special effects secrets the professionals have been using for years. He has also recorded several video training titles for for After Effects and Photoshop and has produced training DVDs, also available through the online store, "Photoshop CS4 Video & Animation" and "Learning After Effects CS4″ published through PhotoshopCAFE. These DVDs are geared toward those who are both new to After Effects or want to learn the more complicated new features if upgrading from a previous version.

Most recently, Foster has completed "The Green Screen Handbook" (Sybex/Wiley, pub) that is targeted toward the higher-education market to serve as a texbook for green screen production and compositing techniques. Pro photographers, Indie filmmakers and hobbyists will find this book a valuable tool for getting the best results from their compositing projects.

With several new projects forthcoming, Jeff is currently operating PixelPainter from his studio in beautiful Ojai, CA.